The new Immigration Bill 2015/16 has cleared its first parliamentary hurdle, but not without opposition. Although Labour supported certain aspects of the Bill (i.e. greater sanctions for employers of illegal migrants and the English-speaking requirement) it opposed most of its intentions, aiming to block the Bill. However, the Conservatives pushed their vision within the Bill through at second reading by 323 votes to 274, a margin of 49 votes.
One of the Bill’s main purposes is to bring the government closer to its target of reducing net migration from more than 300,000 currently to the tens of thousands, but one Labour MP, Andy Burnham, stated the bill to be “unpleasant and insidious”. There is likely to be such strong opposition along the way.
The Bill now faces detailed committee-stage scrutiny from MPs. There is still a long way to go before it becomes law.